The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has announced it has committed to fund the delivery of 13 Mental Health First Aid instructor training courses to train 156 construction workers in Mental Health First Aid skills. From September 2019, these instructors will work train a minimum of 2,500 on-site staff as Mental Health First Aiders by 2020, with the aim of improving approaches to mental health across the industry.

The funding has been awarded to Building Mental Health – an industry initiative involving sector-leading firms including Lendlease, Mace, Multiplex, Morgan Sindall and Laing O’Rourke, via CITB’s Flexible Fund.

“The mental health and wellbeing of construction workers is one of the biggest issues our industry is currently facing,” said Head of Economic Analysis at CITB Geeta Nathan. “In 2016/17, the sector lost 400,000 working days due to stress, anxiety or depression – the equivalent of losing 1,600 full time workers each year. Given the stigma this subject faces, it’s so important that we lead the way in shaping a culture change.”

The training programme will benefit the British construction industry from micro sized firms to large employers, although this will be just the start; it is estimated that an additional 40,000 mental health first aiders are needed to provide an adequate level of cover for the whole industry.

Jaan Madan, Workplace Lead at MHFA England, commented on the initiative, saying; “We have been working within the construction sector for some time now, with organisations including Lendlease, Crossrail, Skanska, Bowmer and Kirkland, and Mace all seeing the impact of Mental Health First Aid training programmes. We recognise that there’s a pressing need to increase mental health support in this industry and welcome CITB’s announcement, which represents the biggest commitment to tackling the issue in the construction industry to date. We now look forward to working with Building Mental Health to roll out this new instructor training programme.”

Find out more about Workplace MHFA training here, and check out Building Mental Health’s resources here.